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Morning to you, welcome to another Friday and there’s plenty to get through between now and the end.

Starting with some injury updates ahead of tomorrow’s game against Fulham and there’s some vaguely good news. Wojciech Szczesny could return to the squad, but probably not yet the team, provided he comes through an U21 game today without any problems. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are back in contention too, facing late fitness tests, and with Jack Wilshere suspended and set to be run into the ground by England next week it’s better to have options than not.

Other than that there’s no sign of Tomas Rosicky or Abou Diaby who are still roaming the terrain of Cripple Island, while Gervinho remains out for another week or two with his knackered ankle. I thought Kieran Gibbs might have been back but according to the boss he’s not ready yet, and I suspect Thomas Vermaelen will continue at left back. Anyway, we can have a good look ahead to the Fulham game in tomorrow’s blog.

Moving on and, as expected, Jack Wilshere has been called up to the England squad for the pointless friendly against Sweden next week. Arsene Wenger is not best pleased as you’d imagine, but says he’s spoken to Roy Hodgson and seems relatively content that somebody he has a good relationship will be sensible in how he uses a player who has just returned from a lengthy, hellish injury absence:

I wouldn’t like to come out on my feelings because at the moment they are not very positive. I saw it coming, that’s all I can say. Anyway, I have no choice. I have good relations with Roy Hodgson.

We spoke about the situation, he knows my feeling and I know his feeling. You know that I think it is early for Jack. We found a good understanding and a good compromise. Roy wants him in the group to connect with the players.

And as long as that understanding is held to I don’t think there’s a huge problem, to be honest. Jack could play 45 minutes or so, get back into an England shirt (something he’s obviously very proud to do), and after so long out it might be another big step in the right direction for him. That said, none of it alters the fact that these friendlies are abysmally timed and of no real benefit to anyone bar the various national associations who look to coin it in. The boss hit out at the games next week and rightly asked why they were taking place on Wednesday:

The problem is not to have too much conflict with the interest of the clubs. But when we play next Saturday at 12.45pm against Tottenham and Cazorla plays for Spain in Panama on Wednesday night, you cannot say there is no conflict of interest between the two. It is also difficult to understand why these games are not like the official games and played on a Tuesday night.

It’s difficult to understand until you remember pretty much everyone involved in international football at an organisational level is a twat. And corrupt. And probably a puppy punching child murderer. Whether or not Cazorla’s participation in next Saturday’s game is in doubt or not is a worry for next week but it’s hardly ideal preparation, even if they do 1st class and all that. Anyway, we’ll fret about that next week.

There was also good news for Carl Jenkinson who, after not being named in the initial England squad for the pointless game against Sweden, will be called up as soon as his international clearance comes through. Having represented Finland at youth level, it requires one of the kitten burning Phil Collins fans in FIFA to send through a document before he can play for another country, but the FA are expecting that next week. He’s come a long, long way in the last 12 months so congrats and fair play to him.

Beyond that not a great deal happening, it has to be said, so we’ll move on to this week’s Arsecast. Joining me to discuss the week that was (Manchester United, Arsenal’s poor showing, Andre Santos and more) is Philippe Auclair. I also chat to Philippe about his new book, one that that will obviously be of great interest to Arsenal fans.

‘Thierry Henry: Lonely at the top‘ follows Thierry’s career from the time he was a kid all the way through to the rather ignominious end of his international career, and obviously right in the middle of all that is his time at Arsenal. I read it, loved it, and there’s a review here by Goonerholic which gives you a bit more info about what’s contained throughout. So, plenty to chat about with Philippe and if you fancy the book it’s in all good bookshops now and here on Amazon.

As well as that, as it’s getting cold and necks need warming, our good friends at Savile Rogue have stepped in to ensure your neckular region remains toasty. There’s a competition to win one of their excellent cashmere scarves and, as always, if you use the code ARSEBLOG12 at checkout, you get yourself a tasty 10% off any order.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here 31mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.


And that’s about that. News throughout the day on Arseblog News, back tomorrow with a full Fulham preview. Have a good one.